Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A cloud, a strawberry and no Cheshire cat

A follow up to my recent Something New post...
A Cloud

I cut out a cloud shape on paper and used a wipe off fabric marker pen to put the outline on the fabric. I didn't want to draw round it, so instead I used strokes of the pen so it would be an interrupted outline - I don't know if I'm explaining that well so here's a pic to show you what the paper cut out looked like afterwards!

I did the first outline in a mid-light blue embroidery cotton and when it was done it looked to me like the piece needed something more. Not the same kind of colour, but I felt the outline needed to be chunkier. I chose a lighter blue, made the stitches a little longer while keeping them irregular like the first row. Pretty pleased with the result.

While making this I had an idea for a couple more cloud based negative space sewing projects

💙 Use of a dark grey rather than blue, make it a single row with longer stitches, and along the bottom of the cloud either embroider or add blue bead raindrops.

💙 Outline most of the cloud with blue but in the rop right 'corner' use a warm yellow to indicate the sun.

Will I be doing either of these soon? Nope. Think I might have to create another jar for ideas I've had a go at that I want to explore further!

A Strawberry

I wanted to try something new with the same essential idea so I did irregular red stitches that weren't closely packed, while using a chunkier green design for the leaves. When it was done, I felt that it needed something else so stitched the gold 'seeds' into the space.

Other ideas spawned by this?

🍓 A pineapple, perhaps with a faint criss-cross pattern in the negative space
🍓 A cactus with hot pink fruit, with needles somehow shown in the blank area

No Cheshire Cat
Let's be honest, I'm part crazy cat lady so of course this was the idea I was most looking forward to trying and it was the one I could not get right. I expected it to be a bit more complicated as I was going to use different colours to represent the stripes of the fur but whether it was the shape I'd decided to use for the cat head or the way I combined the colours, it just didn't work. It's something I'd like to try again but not with such an iconic character where there's so much to compare it to.

This project wasn't a complete failure though as it gave me ideas for other things to try:
😼 Embroidering around letters or words
😼 Cutting out a distinctive shape from a book or a magazine and using that for the negative space

My final verdict on negative space sewing?

I really enjoyed it. I've picked up a new crafting skill and busted some stash, and I got to play with colours which is always a plus for me.

The one small negaive of the experience was that it did aggravate my RSI so this isn't a hobby I could take up to the exclusion of all others without a fair amount of discomfort. For an occasional dabble though it would be fine.

If you're reading this and fancy giving it a go you will need:
  • An embroidery hoop. I used a 4 inch one, but there are other sizes out there. Not sure how to use one? Go on YouTube and type in 'how to use an embroidery hoop' and there's guides there like this one
  • Sewing needles. My needles are years old for the most part and acquired from here, there and everywhere so I can't give you the specific size I used. If you have none and need to get some you can either ask in your local craft shop for guidance or, if you're ordering online and won't have that face-to-face option, have a look at guides like this one to help you choose what you need. 
  • Fabric for sewing on. You could use linen, cotton or cross stitch fabric but whatever you pick make sure it does not have much stretch to it. A jersey would be very difficult to work with for this kind of thing for example. Never embroidered in your life and don't want to invest money in a large piece of fabric? Do you have any old clothes waiting to go out to charity that are made of non-stretch fabrics that you could use pieces of? Old bedding? Old tea towels? If you have patterned fabric it would help you build up confidence in your sewing by enabling you to trace/fill in shapes already there. 
  • Embroidery threads/ stranded Cotton - if you're doing this on a budget, you can go to places like Poundland and get a pack of stranded cottons. I think places like Wilkinsons also sell them. You won't get the shine that you would with more expensive ones like Anchor or DMC but you could still make a colourful display. 
  • A wipe of fabric marker like the one listed above is not essential but I'd recommend it if you have the spare pennies. 
  • An idea of what shapes you want to use. Not that good at drawing? Go on the internet or get a magazine, find a photo/drawing of what you want and use that.

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